The Louisiana History Museum has been doing a bit of research on the Bentley Hotel and has come up with this interesting fact.
It’s not earth shattering and perhaps a few people knew it already. I am publishing this with the museums permission.
The Director is a good friend of Alex’s. He has furnished me with numerous photographs in the past.
This has to do with the original lobby paint scheme.
The lobby today looks nothing like it did when the hotel was built in 1908.
For one reason or another the detail painting has disappeared over the years.
In the dome today is a rather garish mural that detracts from the grandeur of the dome itself.
(Frankly, it is cheap looking. To put it bluntly.)
Most people know the lobby detail from the 1950′s on as plain but ornate in some areas as pictured below.
The above shows the detail pretty much as it is even today, with the exception of the figures painted in the dome.
Now lets look at the original decoration as it appeared on the day of the grand opening in 1908.
Now.. Here is the fun part. in 1908 there were 46 States in the Union. Guess what?
A detail that was little noticed untill the photo’s were converted to high defin ation and blown up.
All 46 States were painted in spaces around the lobby and dome in keeping with the detail of the dome itself.
Some time along the way these details were painted over and lost for some reason.
It just shows what you can find out about a building or object for that matter if you examine it for the background detail.
This just shows the extent that Joseph Bentley went to as he tried to build the finest hotel in the South.
Let’s not loose it.
The original detail of the interior can not be duplicated today, but it would be fun to try.